Stephanie Schaefer Ford
Class Year: 2011
Title: Senior Marketing Copywriter
Organization Name: Rue Gilt Groupe
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
As a Senior Copywriter, I am responsible for crafting the stories that support Rue La La’s marketing initiatives, whether it be as straightforward as writing clever subject lines and push notifications for our daily sales, or as in-depth as conceptualizing an entire holiday campaign.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
After graduation, I accepted a summer fellowship through the International Radio & Television Society in New York City. My spot was sponsored by The Hallmark Channel/Crown Media Networks and its CEO (Bill Abbot, Class of ‘84). It was an amazing experience and exposed me to the ins and outs of the industry.
Through the program, I interned in the marketing and publicity department of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, assisting with the promotion of films like The Help & Cars 2. During the course of the summer, I also attended seminars hosted by IRTS and media executives in various positions, ranging from ad sales to production. These meetings confirmed that I wanted my next role to involve creativity and writing, which eventually led me to pursue a position as an Editorial Assistant at an online magazine.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I was the Vice President of the English Honor Society and Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Purple Literary Magazine during my senior year. I also was involved with the Campus Activities Board (CAB), volunteered at Friendly House in Worcester through SPUD, and contributed articles to The Crusader Newspaper.
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I majored in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. I remember right before graduation, one of my favorite professors, Leah Cohen, asked us to respond to an article that said, “graduating with an English Degree is like going out into a storm without a coat.” I believe my response was something along the lines of “I’d rather go out coatless than wear one that isn’t my style.” Through my Holy Cross courses, I realized I wanted a career that would fulfill me creatively, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would be. English majors may not have a direct path, but that’s half the fun!
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
I’m fortunate that I get to hone the skills I developed in college every day. Holy Cross taught me to think outside of the box and express my voice, whether that be in an extensive 20-page thesis paper or a three-line poem for a Creative Writing class. These abilities are certainly valuable when you’re a Copywriter writing for a variety of different mediums.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
Learn from every experience, big and small. Also, I think it’s important to be adaptable, but always stay true to your passions. Luckily, in today’s digital world that’s easier than ever. For instance, in my spare time, I contribute to Writer’s Bone, a podcast and website my husband co-founded, dedicated to writing. I’m fortunate to have a creatively fulfilling day job, but interviewing authors and screenwriters for the podcast allows me to hone a different set of skills. In addition to signing up for courses and extracurriculars that you’re passionate about, I’d encourage students to pick up a side hustle, start a blog, or do whatever it is that fuels your creative spirit.